If you are going to break a record, no better than overtaking your older brother’s.
“Oh yeah, get to rub it in his face,” said Summerland Steam goaltender Matt Huber with a laugh.
On Jan. 4, a 6-3 victory over the Princeton Posse, the Steam goalie did exactly that. He surpassed former Steam goalie Brett Huber’s records for most minutes and most games played. Matt is now encroaching on most wins and will most likely surpass his older brother’s records for best save percentage and goals against.
“He was more than aware of what was about to happen, I have made sure of it. There was a little bit of friendly chirping. I was sure to let him know right after it happened with a text message to rub it in. It said, check the website and look who just beat your record,” said Huber.
Jokes aside, Steam coach John Depourcq couldn’t be happier with Matt’s performance as they jostle for first place in the Okanagan division with the Osoyoos Coyotes.
“He is having a great season and playing very well right now. He is the type of kid that prepares himself very well for games and he also has a great attitude. Right now, his numbers speak for themselves,” said Depourcq.
“He is just so confident. That comes with past experience and helps when you work hard during the summer to get better. Anyone who knows the Huber boys, Matt especially, know they put the time in at the rink to earn their success. That rubs off on the players who also play with confidence because of that.”
The goalie said knowing that this was his last go-around with the Steam, as he ages out of the KIJHL, he wanted to make sure he put in work over the summer.
“I take pride in working out at the gym and having myself ready when I come to the rink, not only for myself but for my team. I never want to fail my boys. I want to be there for them when they need me to be the last line of defence and need me to play the best I can. I want to help the boys get the win when they depend on me,” said Matt. “Knowing it was my last season was a big influence on how I wanted to perform this year and go out on a high note. I want to go out with a bang and get that championship ring.”
Despite a 9-3 loss to the Osoyoos Coyotes on Sunday, who are first overall in the Okanagan division, the Steam, who are second in the division, are putting themselves in a good position for when playoffs come.
“We are looking really good right now from the rookies pulling their weight and exceeding expectations to veterans really rolling and the addition of goalie Max Sidelnik— everything is clicking. Everything is moving in the right direction for playoff magic. I’m excited and it’s full steam into the playoff, no pun intended.”
Older brother Brett, is having an outstanding season too. Graduated from the KIJHL three years ago, making way for Matt to join the team in the process, Brett is now playing with the Selkirk Saints in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League. He has manned the net eight times so far this year as the starting goalie, having only lost one of those contests, putting them just one point behind first place as they head into the second-half of the season.
Hockey just runs in their bloodlines. Dad, Barry Huber, was a skater for the 78-79 Penticton Vees and 79-82 Penticton Knights.
As for the Huber goalie dynasty, that will end for the Steam this season as Matt finishes his last year in the KIJHL, but the possibility is there for the pair to re-unite at Selkirk.
“That would be a dream. If the opportunity came up, I would be more than happy to look into Selkirk. They have a great program and school and a high level of play,” said Matt. “It also would be cool to have a goalie tandem of brothers. The Huber brother’s tandem, sounds pretty good.”
The Steam next play on Jan. 19 against the Chase Heat at 7:30 p.m. at the Summerland Arena. They then will head to Kelowna to face the Chiefs on Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. The following weekend they face the Osoyoos Coyotes at 7:30 p.m. at the Summerland Arena then head to Armstrong to play the North Okanagan Knights at 7:30 p.m.